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Gary McKinnon extradition blocked by Home Secretary on human rights grounds
The Home Secretary has blocked the extradition of computer hacker Gary McKinnon on human rights grounds.
Theresa May announced her decision at the House of Commons just after 12.30pm, meaning the 46-year-old will not be forced to face the justice system in America.
Mr McKinnon, from Palmers Green, is accused of committing the biggest military computer hack of all time between 2001 and 2002.
The 46-year-old, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, claimed he was searching for evidence about UFOs.
The Home Secretary said the case was “difficult and exceptional,” but sending Mr McKinnon to the US would be “incompatible” with his human rights.
If found guilty, he could have faced a prison sentence of up to 60 years.
It is the first time a Home Secretary has withdrawn an extradition order since the introduction of the Extradition Act in 2003.
She said Mr McKinnon is “seriously ill,” and there is a “such a high risk” of him committing suicide if he is extradited to the US.
Concerns were raised after psychiatrists employed by the Home Secretary claimed Mr McKinnon would be at high risk of suicide if he were extradited.
However, the Home Secretary said it is up to the director of public prosecution to decide if his case should be heard in a UK court.
Enfield, Southgate MP David Burrowes, who has campaigned for Mr McKinnon to remain in the UK, has welcomed the landmark decision.
The politician said he would resign from his role as a ministerial aide in Government if Mr McKinnon was extradited.
The Conservative politician said: “I am delighted that the Home Secretary has made the right and compassionate decision to stop the extradition of my constituent.
“It was the right decision because all the psychiatrists agreed that Gary would take his life if he was extradited to the US.
"It was also right because of the promises made by the Prime Minister and other Ministers before the election.
"We have delivered on the promise to Gary Mckinnon which is a victory for him, his indefatigable campaigning mother Janis Sharp and the huge support from the public. It is a victory for common sense. After ten long years Gary can at last get his life back.”